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The Wordsmith's Corner--Becoming A Professional Writer
What Is A Wordsmith?
Simply put-- I play with words,for fun and money. Writing is a career I fell into accidentally--as I am allergic to standard "jobs". Being self employed is not for everyone, as you need to be somewhat organized, and able to commit to doing whatever assignments come your way. Those who are disciplined and don't allow friends, neighbors, children or television to distract them from earning money are good candidates for work at home opportunities, and those who love language and can follow directions can be writers.
Does this mean I am the next Steinbeck, or Hemingway? Hardly LOL. But, if you're looking for a well written, engaging article about losing belly fat fast, or chicken coops, or the pros and cons of the newest kitchen gadget, then I am more than up to the task.
The life of a writer can be as varied and interesting as you choose to make it. At times, my work is very repetitive; this is typically the case when I am on a long term content providing contract, or writing an ezine for someone. Long term assignments on a single subject are actually one of the most challenging types of writing to tackle, because you are forced to think outside the box, and find new and interesting ways of presenting what is usually an already well worn topic.
Perhaps the worst--or best, depending on attitude-- assignment I ever tackled was a series of 25 ezines, 5-6 articles each, on burning belly fat fast.I realized by the time I got to issue three that it was going to be extremely difficult to comer up with enough fresh material for the remaining twenty-two. But it turned out to be very satisfying, when the last one was finished, and I am now an official "expert" on every fad diet, every seen on TV gadget, and all the things that do NOT work-- which turned out to be most of the things I researched.
And it was a really good challenge.
If you are someone who likes predictability, stability in income, and structure, then my type of writing might not be for you. I like being able to structure my "job" around my life, rather than living for my work. I like working as much as I need to, on my own schedule. I love the tax deductions that come with the writing career. And I love learning about new things, every day.
If I have a financial need, or a current goal, I work all that I need to plus a little extra. If life is all good at the moment, I work less. The best part of self employment is the ability to chart your own financial destiny in far more meaningful ways than you can when you're in a "real job". I have managed after quite a few years to find a balance, where I am making enough to be comfortable, plus some extra, working as few hours as possible without compromising quality.
And in the final analysis, that is the best state a writer can BE in. Enough work, but not too much work. Having time to do things that have been on my bucket list is the real focus for me. Perhaps the greatest part of writing is the ability to take your work anywhere you might wish to go, and being able to live life on your terms.
And I wouldn't trade my career for anything! So many people forget-- life is too short to waste even an hour on something that doesn't enhance your life in a good way, somehow.
The Write Stuffview quiz statistics
Writing For Fun, Writing For Money
When I was young (and didn't have bills) I wrote for fun. I always thought that being paid to write articles would be boring, and would silence my inner muse. In actuality, writing for the internet is a fascinating job. Today alone I wrote about belly fat, chicken coops, affiliate marketing programs, traffic exchanges, the best work at home opportunities, and put together a contest for a client on his website. Yesterday, I wrote about insoles for shoes, how to re-pot plants, making your own chemical peel out of aspirin and vinegar, and finished the day with--more chicken coops.
My job is far from boring--as a matter of fact, I find it difficult to write purely for enjoyment these days, as I am very busy writing about dubstep music, skater culture, love and hip hop (a TV show), steampunk, and preppers. I would guess that my "job" as probably far more interesting than most people's--though I would have liked to be a forensic pathologist, actually :-).
I consider myself fortunate in that I rarely have to fish for business--my clients find me. I do write at iwriter.com, under the screen name chrystalia99--and I am proud to say my rejection level is less than 2% there, and less than 1% overall. I don't say that to brag, but because I work hard for the recognition I get--and I don't mind people knowing that. My job gives me variety, flexibility, and is never short of crises, disasters, and odd experiences--which is just the way I like it!
How Do You Become A Writer?
Earnest Hemingway was once asked what it took to be a writer. His reply: "Patience and postage stamps". It takes a little more than that, of course. For writing like I normally do, you need good research skills, and a command of the English Language. My poetry is very sporadic--because that relies on inspiration, not technical skills. I can barely write a short story, and I can't write dialogue at all.
To be a professional writer, you need to have a lot of discipline, be detail oriented, and be willing to work consistently. When I am not writing for money, I am writing for visibility, or for practice. Someone else once said "I write because it hurts less than not writing"-- and in a way, that's very true. I can't go a single day without writing something, even if it's only a journal entry.
You have to be able to follow directions, however ridiculous the directions might seem. Some of the directions I receive are stunning examples of lunacy--but I follow them anyway, because my reputation depends on doing so. Sticking to deadlines is essential, as well.
The most important thing I have learned is always agree to less than you can deliver--then deliver early and extra LOL. So far, this strategy is working rather well, because it makes me look exceptional--which I am not. I am a very good technical writer, a decent poet, and a mildly mediocre fiction writer. My clients, however, consider me exceptional, because I promise 75% and deliver 100% :-). This works out well.
Would you Hire A Writer?
The Final Analysis
If you can't imagine NOT writing, can write effectively and engagingly, follow directions and are willing to seriously market yourself, then you might well have what it takes to be a writer. This isn't magic, or rocket science. Timeless fiction is magic, and space shuttles are rocket science. Writing is skill, practice, and dedication--not to mention some patience and postage stamps.
I didn't intend to be a writer when I grew up, it just sort of happened one day. If you have the dedication and the dream, it could happen for you, as well.